It’s been one of those weeks that has no beginning or end, just a ceaseless cycle of events and dinners and obligations, punctuated by traffic and car doors opening and closing and emails and work and Snapchat. You know? You know. I am tired. The final edits on my manuscript were due on Friday, and, horror that it is for me to be behind deadline, I just didn’t have them done in time. Flash forward to me listening to Alanis Morissette at 1am on Sunday (or Monday, technically), speeding through hundreds of pages of rewrites and photo annotations.
Writing a book is no joke, you guys. Aside from the terror of just finishing the damn thing, there is the much more real, vibrant fear of exposing myself more completely than I ever have before. Whenever I begin to feel this way, I remind myself of all the wild and crazy things I share with you each week here on the internet, but something about print just feels massively more final. The words will become tangible objects, physical entities that exist in space, that elicit emotion and frustration and distaste.
The only way I get over the insanity of it all is by reminding myself that it is, at the end of the day, just a book. It is a portrait of a time—this time, and the moments that came before—in my life, and as such, it will not ever be perfect. Those words—it will not ever be perfect—wash over me like the most soothing balm.
The other truth to hold on to is that I don’t know a single artist who isn’t plagued by this simultaneous revulsion for and attraction to vulnerability. I want to be seen, to feel seen, to be held in that seeing, and at the same time, exposing myself is terrifying. In my Alanis moment, I stumbled upon a tenth anniversary Jagged Little Pill commentary she did with her producer, Glen Ballard. In talking about “You Oughta Know”, Alanis says:
“‘You Oughta Know’ was basically a journal entry from a very devastated time. When I hear that song, I definitely hear the anger as a protection around the searing vulnerability. I was mortified, devastated, and it’s a lot easier—it was a lot easier—for me to be angry, and feel the power from that anger, versus the broken, horrified woman on the floor. I remember writing some of the lyrics and turning to Glen and saying, ‘I’ll have to change some of those,’ and he turned to me and said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Exactly, ok, thank you.’
There was a common perception and misperception at the time that the song was written for the sake of revenge. … But I didn’t know that many people were going to hear the song. There was an inflated sense that this record might reach 100,000 people, which at the time I thought oh my god that’s so many people. And so I didn’t think the whole planet would be hearing it and heralding it and doing with it what they wound up doing.
I was writing it so that I didn’t get sick, I was writing it to get it out of my body, I was writing it in the same way I might speak to a therapist or my best friend. If I didn’t speak about it I would’ve gotten sick. And I actually thought that writing songs with these subject matters would make it so I didn’t have to talk to human beings. I thought—if I write this song it’ll absolve me of the situation, it’ll clear it up for me, but having sung ‘You Oughta Know’ countless times over the years, the relationship itself was still tinged with pain and I quickly came to see that the process of writing these songs was very cathartic but it wasn’t healing, it didn’t take care of it, I actually still had to interact with human beings in order to resolve things.”
There is so much brilliance in her words: They make me think about the hook of raw emotion, raw feeling, raw humanity in art. In my very, very humble opinion, Jagged Little Pill is Alanis’ greatest work, and I wonder if it’s because she eschewed all pretense, she momentarily let down the wall of shame that keeps us from exposing our innermost selves, that separates us from each other. But in that moment of exposure, we fell in love with her. Her heart was in every shredding, aching note. We could not look away.
I think, more than anything, this is my wish for the work I create: That, if even for a moment, it is so honest and so real that it is impossible to look away.
And for the moments when it is time to look away, to rest, to recharge, we have this incredibly easy exfoliating scrub, which takes full advantage of the sugar and acid of strawberries in their peak season. Combined with a dash of vanilla extract, the fine grain of cane sugar, and a touch of sweet almond oil, it’s the sweetest way to glow this summer.
STRAWBERRIES & CREAM FACE AND BODY EXFOLIATOR.
- 2 tablespoons fresh mashed strawberry
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar (use super fine or blend in your blender for a gentler exfoliation)
- 2 teaspoons sweet almond oil
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, stir everything until well combined. Use on face and body, in or out of the shower. Rinse well, and moisturizer as you would normally. Will keep for up to one week in a cool place, out of the sun, or for longer in the fridge.